Governor DeSantis (R-FL) has proven himself to be a heavyweight contender in the political ring, securing endorsements from Republicans in New Hampshire, Iowa, and his home state of Florida. These endorsements are a clear sign that many within the GOP see DeSantis as a frontrunner for the 2024 presidential election, despite former president Donald Trump’s recent surge.
Over the weekend, DeSantis showed his political savvy by engaging one-on-one with Iowa voters, shaking off previous criticisms that he struggled with retail politicking. While former President Trump canceled a rally in Des Moines due to “severe weather”, DeSantis capitalized on the opportunity, making an unscheduled appearance at a local barbecue joint. This move not only underlined his commitment to the grassroots campaign but also provided him with a win in terms of optics.
Moreover, DeSantis announced the endorsement of over three dozen Republicans from Iowa, a tally that exceeds any endorsements GOP candidates received back in 2016. This endorsement list, coupled with his involvement in local events, signifies that DeSantis is building a robust political base within the crucial first caucus state.
On the other hand, Trump’s list of 150 endorsements was questioned by at least three individuals who were included without consultation. This controversy raises questions about the authenticity of Trump’s endorsements, furthering DeSantis’s edge in terms of credibility.
Furthermore, the PAC backing DeSantis announced endorsements from 51 lawmakers in New Hampshire, including four legislators who had previously supported Trump. In his home state of Florida, DeSantis received key endorsements from state senate president Kathleen Passidomo and state house speaker Paul Renner, both praising DeSantis’s pro-family, pro-economic policies.
Despite these promising signs for DeSantis, a recent RealClearPolitics average of national polls shows Trump leading with 55 percent support, while DeSantis trails with 21 percent. However, DeSantis’s increasing endorsements and his strategic maneuvering on the political landscape suggest a potential shift in the political tide.
As for Trump, his recent defamation lawsuit and the continuation of his unfounded claims about the 2020 election rigging have kept him in the spotlight. Trump’s critique of DeSantis’s six-week abortion ban as “too harsh” may further estrange him from the conservative base, potentially opening more doors for DeSantis.
DeSantis’s recent call for Republicans to “reject the culture of losing that has infected our party in recent years” is a clear signal of his intention to focus on the future rather than the past, a strategy that may resonate with many voters tired of political infighting and yearning for a forward-looking vision. As the 2024 presidential race heats up, DeSantis is proving himself to be a formidable contender, and one who could potentially lead the GOP into a new era.